As Truffaut stated, this is really more a film about friendship and aging than about gangsters.
Jean Gabin is brilliant as Max, the elegant, dignified underworld leader who is growing tired,
and wants to retire quietly off his last score. This is a film that lives in the brilliant human
details. We never see the big heist itself - it's already over when the film starts. But we do see
Gabin brushing his teeth, looking at the bags under his eyes in the mirror, etc.
Now it's all about finding a way to close the books on a career, and still protect his best friend
and colleague, who becomes a target when other mobsters want to get their hands on the take.
The story itself could be called thin, but Becker fills it with so many telling human moments and
details that I was touched and involved.
Yes, there were a few places where the plot, logic, or motivation holes bugged me just a touch.
However, I suspect I'll warm to this even further on a eagerly anticipated second viewing.
Criterion do their usual superior job with the transfer.